The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is hoping to crack down on car thefts by setting up "bait vehicles" around the northeast Avalon.

Since August, the RNC has been parking unmarked civilian vehicles in areas that have frequent vehicle thefts or break-ins. The vehicles are specially designed so that they can't be moved.

The RNC said it's all part of an effort to catch and deter would-be thieves, since 140 vehicles have been reported stolen in the region since the start of the year. The RNC said often when vehicles are stolen, they're used in other crimes such as armed robberies or joy riding.

Starting Tuesday, officers will also be placing large glow-message signs near neighbourhoods, advising that bait vehicles may be in the area. The RNC said the signs are meant to both remind drivers to lock their vehicles and deter possible thieves from attempting a break-in.

The RNC said in addition to the car thefts, it continues to get reports of personal items being taken from cars, and is asking people to avoid leaving valuables inside their vehicles and to report any suspicious activity by calling police right away.